Word 2007 and Word 2003 Coexisting

If you’ve ever used two recent versions of Word on the same computer, you know doubt have encountered that infuriating dialog that tells you to wait while Word is configured. You use Word 2003 for a little while, and then you switch back to Word 2007, and you get the “Wait, while…” yet again–multiple times in the same session.

Until now, I thought that the only way for two versions of Word to peacefully coexist was if one of them always loaded using the /a switch. Among other things, this meant that the /a version would not be able to use any of your custom settings (except for Word 2007’s Quick Access Toolbar settings, which seem robust with respect to /a).

It can now be revealed, however, that there’s an easy registry solution that allow multiple versions of Word to exist, and for you to have your various customizations remain in play as well.

Caution: Edit your registry settings at your own risk. Incorrectly editing your registry can damage Word, Office, Windows, your community, the planet, and the universe. For additional information on how to edit your registry, consult Google. I’m assuming here that you know what you’re doing, and hence will give you only the bullet. It’s up to you to buy your own gun.

Note: Do not do this if you’re running just one version of Word! Otherwise, occasional and useful self-repairs won’t happen.

Now, for the juicy bits. You’ll need to add a NoRereg DWORD (32-bit) value to the Options section for each version of Word that you want to run. In Office 12, this value goes here:


After you create the NoRereg value, set it equal to 1. And you’re done!

Repeat this for each additional version of Word you plan to run. For Word 2003, for example, the place to add the NoRereg value would be in:


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5 Responses to Word 2007 and Word 2003 Coexisting

  1. peterka says:


    I applied the registry setting which resulted in the right version of Word opening up. One side effect though. If Word 2003 was opened and I tried to open a docx file, it would open in Word 2003. The opposite happens if Word 2007 is opened first with a doc document opening in Word 2007.

    Is there a way around this?


  2. herbt3 says:

    The ReReg value prevents the “Wait…” problem, but I don’t believe there’s a solution to what you’re seeing. You might try editing the default program(s) assigned to .doc and .docx files, respectively, by modifying the file association settings. I doubt that it will work, however, since both versions of Word use winword.exe, and I suspect that Windows just checks to see if an image with that name is running, and doesn’t care about the version or the exact location on disk.

    When I have both 2003 and 2007 running at the same time, it sometimes seems like a crapshoot which version double-clicking a doc/docx file will open. Since I usually have Word 2007 open, and only briefly open 2003 to answer specific questions put to me by clients/others, it usually isn’t a problem for me personally. But, I can see where it might be annoying. All the ReReg setting does is tame the “Wait…” problem.

  3. natakuc4 says:

    “Incorrectly editing your registry can damage Word, Office, Windows, your community, the planet, and the universe.”

    I liked that. 🙂 I had word 2003 and 2007 coexisting for a while on a few of my machines but the machines began slowing down quite alot on the ones that I had done it to. So if I need office 2003 I just run in on a virtual machine.

  4. Carlos Teixeira says:

    Excellent! Straightforward and effective. Thanks a lot!

  5. Pingback: Kris’s Box » Blog Archive » Word 2010 and 2007 (and 2003 for that matter) can coexist

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